Frequently asked Questions

Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about our programs in Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work.

What is sociology?

Sociology is concerned with the scientific study of human behavior in groups. Since a group consists of two or more communicating people, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the briefest of two-person interactions to the most enduring features of culture and world civilizations. The unique insight of sociology is that we are what we are largely because of our social experience with others as those experiences are shaped by our cultural settings. Sociologists use various methodological and statistical techniques to study, describe and explain human behavior in different social settings.

What is anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of people at all times and places. It emphasizes understanding total cultural systems. The department sees understanding anthropology as vital to understanding society. Although we do not offer a major in anthropology, a variety of courses in anthropology are offered. A sociology major can elect to concentrate in anthropology and can go on to graduate school to become an anthropologist.

What is social work?

Social work is the profession of helping individuals, families, groups or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to that goal. The department offers courses focusing on families and individuals as well as policy-influencing or comparative approaches to large-scale social change. Although no degree is available in social work, students may choose to minor in this field and attend graduate school to become practicing social workers.

Should I consider a minor in a related discipline?

Sociology is a good major to combine with a minor in social work, anthropology, business, philosophy, or communication. However, students can be creative. A minor area of study in almost any discipline will combine well with sociology, which is about the social world.

What about getting a double major?

A number of sociology students get a second major. An obvious choice is psychology, particularly if you are interested in human behavior. Many students in criminal justice studies also declare sociology as a primary or secondary major. Philosophy also combines well with sociology. We have had a number of students combine sociology with history. One enterprising student is getting dual degrees, combining mechanical engineering and sociology.

What are some sociology careers?

Sociology majors find careers in a broad spectrum of jobs, such as teaching, social service or law. Graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees in sociology, law, psychology, and social work.

Can I obtain a master's in social work with a B.A. in sociology?

Many of our graduates go on to earn an M.S.W. and are currently practicing social workers. A significant number of students who attend M.S.W. programs nationwide do not have a B.S.W. M.S.W. programs want their students to succeed and the programs design the first year of study to educate the students about the profession and theories. Sociology is an excellent foundation for pursuing an M.S.W., because it offers a broad perspective that can be applied across multiple populations in generalist social work practice. The department's social work field experience is an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience, and is just one way that sociology majors at UD can explore research, theory, diversity, and collective action that will lead to a strong foundation for an M.S.W.

What do sociology majors study?

The sociology major takes a range of courses, which can include the relationship between self and society, mass communication, race and ethnic relations, immigration, political sociology, the relationship between law and society, sociology of women, as well as required courses in urban sociology, theory, research methods and data analysis. The sociology curriculum at the University of Dayton also includes a solid foundation of general education in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and a creative integrated science sequence which incorporates elements of all the social sciences. It is a challenging but rewarding program, which develops students' critical thinking and writing skills. Since sociology is one of the traditional social sciences, students learn to formulate research questions, collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data and clearly present research results.

What are the objectives of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work?

The primary objective of the DSASW is to assist its students in developing the skills necessary for a career, social service, or for advanced study. The students in this program learn sociology and how to function as a sociologist in the department's capstone senior seminar. By the time they graduate, they learn to think as a sociologist. At UD, the sociology major can become involved in undergraduate research. There are also numerous service-learning and internship experiences that allow undergraduate students to test their career commitment at an early stage in their academic development. Faculty members work closely with students and encourage them to present their work in a variety of formats. The sociology major at UD not only gains valuable social science knowledge and perspective, but invaluable applied experience, and a greater insight on what it means to be human in contemporary society.

What is the best feature of the department?

A hallmark of the department is the students collegial relationships with faculty members. Students comment on the openness and accessibility of the departmental faculty. Although there are quite a few sociology majors, students feel that we are a "small" department. We have the opportunities of a large department with the interpersonal accessibility of a small, liberal arts college.

What is the relationship between students and faculty members?

In the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at UD, the student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 7 to 1. This ratio allows for much student-faculty interaction. Faculty members know majors, because they frequently work with them closely on projects and assignments. This allows for excellent mentoring of our students. The chairperson is officially the students' incoming adviser, but after their first year, students are assigned to a departmental adviser for the remainder of their time. However, informal advising takes place in a variety of contexts from halls, faculty offices, and before and after classes, and sometimes even in the KU dining rooms.

What kind of student studies sociology at the University of Dayton?

Many students in the College take introductory sociology and upper-level sociology courses to complete their social science breadth requirements. Currently, there are about 100 sociology majors, with between 15 and 20 students graduating per year. Most sociology majors decide to become majors after coming to the University and taking a sociology course or two. Our majors are interested in helping people and exhibit a curiosity about the social world. A number of our majors are part of the University Honors and Scholars Program.

Will I have opportunities for research?

Because of the relatively small size of the department, close proximity to modern sociological, anthropological, and social work research is available to any student. Also, the Dayton area serves as an excellent "laboratory" for sociology students. There are many opportunities for students to go out into the urban setting to explore a variety of research methods, through field studies, internships and senior projects. The unified theme of the department is community, thus there are many opportunities for sociology students to work beyond the classroom walls.